ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch

your New Media watchdog

ConWebWatch: home | archive/search | about | primer | shop

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
MRC Pushes False Attack on Obama
Topic: Media Research Center

In a May 5 Media Research Center post complaining that former President Obama said something about the French elections, Kristine Marsh wrote:

This isn’t the first time Obama has interfered in another country’s election, to media silence or lack of critique. In 2015, the Obama Administration tried to defeat Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu in his country’s election, investing hundreds of thousands of dollars that included taxpayer money, into left-wing campaigns in Israel fighting against Netanyahu’s re-election.

As we've pointed out, that's not what happened. While the State Department under Obama funded a group that aimed to support peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine, U.S. funding stopped well before the Israeli election, there was no prohibition against using resources paid for with the funding on any other project the group undertook -- one of which was an anti-Netanyahu campaign during the 2015 election -- no grant money went toward the campaign, and no evidence has been provided that the Obama administration funded the group for the express purpose of permitting later use of the resources in a political campaign.

Even the article from The Hill that Marsh cites as evidence of her claim never claims that the Obama administration's goal in awarding the grant was to campaign against Netanyahu.

Most people would call what Marsh is trying to do here fake news.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:00 AM EDT
Monday, May 22, 2017
WND Is Sad Confederate Monuments Are Being Taken Down
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a May 13 article, an anonymous WorldNetDaily writer is upset that Confederate statues are being taken down in New Orleans:

Under cover of darkness and with construction crews wearing masks, they drove Old Dixie down in New Orleans.

A statue of Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis was removed from its podium early Thursday morning, one of four Confederate memorials Democratic Mayor Mitch Landrieu has vowed to banish from the city in the name of “diversity, inclusion and tolerance” in the crime-ridden Louisiana city.

Though the removal of the statue was greeted with a cheer, The Lost Cause was not without its supporters, many of whom waved Confederate battle flags and called for the mayor to be imprisoned.

The anonymous writer then calls on dubious historian David Barton, who calimed that "the Democrats cheering the statues being taken down would be shocked if they knew the history of their own party":

“The city plans to pull down four statues, those of Jefferson Davis, PGT Beauregard, the Crescent City White League and Robert E. Lee,” he noted. “I hope they tell the folks in New Orleans that all of these monuments honor Democrats, and that the Confederacy was led solely by Southern leaders of the Democrat Party. In a Democrat city like New Orleans, I can’t understand why Democrat leaders want old venerated Democrat heroes taken down!”

Not only does Barton fail to get the name of the Democratic Party correct -- which tells us he's been listening to too much Rush Limbaugh -- he apparently fails to realize that the Democratic Party of 150 years ago is not the Democratic Party of today, which tells us he cares nothing about actual history.

He's followed by Scott Greer, author of the WND-published book with the vaguely race-baiting title "No Campus for White Men," who goes for ridiculous generaliztion and absurd extrapolation:

“It’s an attempt to wipe out any pride Southerners should have in their heritage,” said Greer. “It’s the same kind of process we see on college campuses, where anything white people did in the past tends to be demonized. The left is driven by a desire to interpret all of history through the eyes of 21st century progressive dogma. In their eyes, everything about the American past is bad and shameful and must be driven into the dirt.”


“Soon we’ll have to take down Susan B. Anthony statues because even though she fought for women’s suffrage, she was openly pro-life; and, in today’s women’s movement, no one can be a true woman unless she supports Planned Parenthood and abortion. And of course Harriet Tubman statues will be taken down, for even though she was a leading conductor on the Underground Railroad bringing slaves to freedom, she was also a huge advocate for the right to keep and bear arms. For modern civil rights advocates, guns are anathema, and no true civil rights advocate can be for guns!

“We no longer look at heroes as people or as complex individuals; rather we now judge them solely by one issue, whatever that issue happens to be at the time. We are creating a culture where we believe we have a right not to be offended or even have our misconceptions challenged; and we’re willing to use coercion to keep ‘me’ from being offended, even if that offends ‘you.’ What offends us now is so routinely redefined that probably no statue now will survive more than a generation before it becomes offensive to someone who will demand its removal.”

Actually, the opposite is true: Society has moved toward judging heroes as real people and not one-dimensional caricatures. While Lee and Beauregard were undoubtedly complex individuals, their statues did not honor that complexity; they honored their roles in a war in which they were on the side of perpetuating slavery -- a one-dimensional caricature.

Greer doesn't explain why Southerners should have "pride" in a "heritage" that is based on losing a war and perpetuating racial discrimination, something it can be argued that the Confederate statues were celebrating and something the Battle of Liberty Place monument -- marking an 1874 insurrection in which the Crescent City White League attacked a racially mixed New Orleans police force and actually carrying an inscription stating that following the insurrection, the 1876 election "recognized white supremacy in the South and gave us our state" -- most definitely did.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:09 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 22, 2017 10:13 PM EDT
MRC's Totally Hypocritical Attack on Anonymous Sources
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham and Brent Bozell denounced anonymous sourcing in their May 17 column:

In the current hothouse environment, with liberal media that define Trump as the antonym of democracy, the public should be wary of anonymous sources. This is especially true today. Newspapers that crusaded against Trump in their pages — both news sections and editorial pages — simply cannot be trusted. Theirs is not the pursuit of truth; it's the hunt for Donald J. Trump's scalp.

Earth to the Post: Your new motto is "Democracy Dies in Darkness," but anonymous sourcing is darkness. Every source who hides behind a wall as he tries to ruin other people's careers is a self-serving coward with a personal or political axe to grind. Without knowing an identity, the public has no way of telling anything. It's idiotic for the press to demand transparency in government at the exact same time it rewards government officials who refuse to be transparent themselves.

Journalists pat themselves on the back that they would never be "stenographers to power," but they're worse than that now. In their zeal to destroy Trump, they've become stenographers to anonymous power.

Graham repeated his (and Bozell's) complaint in an appearance on Fox News, where he grumbled about "news media about Trump that has been driven by anonymous sources trying to destroy this president."

Needless to say, Graham and Bozell are being totally hypocritical. When anonymous sources were being used to attack people other than Trump, the MRC has been more than happy to promote their claims.

Shortly before the election, Fox News reported -- based on anonymous sources -- that an indictment of Hillary Clinton was likely over her emails. The MRC not only didn't question Fox's use of anonymous sources, it demanded that other media outlets report the story, even as it was falling apart.

Fox News ultimately retracted the story, conceding that its claims were never verified. The MRC never told its readers about that.

So, Messrs. Graham and Bozell, spare us your selective, hypocritical, politically motivated concern over anonymous sources -- nobody's buying it. We know you'll love them again when they are being used to report a claim about a non-conservative political figure.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:09 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: Faking It At WND, Part 2
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily continues to rail against fake news at the same time it continues to create fake news (while, again, denying that it does so). Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 8:49 AM EDT
Sunday, May 21, 2017
MRC Attacks Anyone Who Tells The Full Truth About Roger Ailes
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell made his love for Roger Ailes clear upon his death:

I knew Roger for over 30 years and from the start I was in awe of his talent. The Left would command a monopoly control of the so-called "news" media but for the Fox News Channel, and FNC would not exist but for him. The good Roger did for America is immeasurable. May he rest in peace.

That would be the tone sw=et by the MRC, which attacked anyone who inconveniently told the full truth about Ailes.

Kristine Marsh ranted that "Journalists from every major media outlet couldn’t contain their disgust for the man, Fox News, and the right" -- Gizmodo and the writer's room at the "Late Show With Stephen Colbert" are "major media outlets"? -- though in reality most were pointing out Ailes' less-than-savory attitude toward women and the sexual harassment allegations that forced him out at Fox News.

Kyle Drennen wrote that NBC "rightfully pointed out the controversy surrounding Ailes’ firing from Fox News over sexual harassment allegations" -- never mind that Drennen's co-workers don't believe it was rightful for anyone else to bring it up -- but then bashed "left-wing anti-Fox crusader" Gabriel Sherman for pointing out that Ailes "ruled Fox News with an iron fist" and that "he kind of died alone." Drennen doesn't dispute the accuracy of any of Sherman's remarks, only that he said them.

Scott Whitlock complained that a couple of people on MSNBC decided to "spike the ratings football" and "made sure to underline Fox’s struggling" following Ailes' departure and grumbled that Andrea Michell pointed out -- we again assume correctly, because Whitlock does not challege the accuracy of it -- that Ailes' "downfall was because of personal failures and the fact there was such a culture of illegality."

When NBC quoted "Ailes-hater" Sherman saying that Ailes' legacy is "transforming American politics into a contact sport where there’s no rules and anything goes, Nicholas Fondacaro huffed in response:

Sherman doesn’t seem to be a student of history because American politics has been a rough and tumble endeavor almost since its creation. There have instances of fistfights and canings in the U.S. Senate dating back to the 1800s. That’s not to mention the vile (for time period) things they would say about each other on the campaign trail and in political cartoons.

Of course, Foncacaro didn't mention that America had generally considered itself past such things. He's just making excuses for the unsavory side of Ailes.

Tim Graham went unhinged (to coin a phrase) on Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi's takedown of Ailes, managing to invoke "hippies" not once but twice:

One of the first delusional traits of leftists is to imagine there the media environment wasn’t “hyper-divisive” before Fox News began. They maintained the pretense that everyone loved a unanimously liberal news media, but that was obviously not the case. It would be smarted to say the “hyper-divisive media environment” started with the hippies in the Sixties, the ones who turned on their parents as atrocious war-mongering squares.


In this Taibbi fantasy, Rolling Stone was never a political fiefdom for hippie leftists and drug-crazed Hunter Thompson fanatics, which later aged into a sort of baby-boomer Tiger Beat for Clinton and Gore, Kerry and Obama (combined with Taibbi slashing the Republicans as monsters like Ailes). Instead, all political fear and loathing came from Fox[.]

Who goes on rants about "hippies" anymore? Most people got over that around, oh, the 1970s. Talk about out of touch.

Whitlock returned to complained that CBS invited on NPR media critic David Folkenflik (to whom Graham regularly loses Twitter fights) for pointing out that Ailes' Fox News encouraged an "emphasis on opinion rather than reporting," sneering, "As though liberal journalists on ABC, CBS and NBC haven’t been doing that for decades?"

Clay Waters howled that the New York Times was "graceless" and "classless" by accurately discussing Ailes' legacy. Perhaps Waters has forgotten the classless treatment of ABC's Peter Jennings, who used his death to tout how its archives were "packed with documentation of liberal bias" from him.

Waters also declared: "National Review<'s Jonah Goldberg offered a more (to use Ailes’ words) 'fair and balanced' accounting of Ailes' legacy." And by "fair and balanced" Waters apparently means that Goldberg devotes barely half a sentence to Ailes' sexual harassment scandal.

Also serving up the kind of "fair and balanced" Ailes obit is Trump sycophant Jeffrey Lord, whose May 20 MRC column handwaves Ailes' sexual harassment by playing dumb and also playing the Clinton Equivocation:

I have no idea what went on with the tales of Ailes and sexual harassment.  I do know that when President Bill Clinton had women pouring out of the woodwork to accuse him of, among other things, dropping his pants to a state employee (Paula Jones) and telling her to “kiss it”, an allegation of rape (Juanita Broaddrick) and groping in the Oval Office (Kathleen Willey) liberals dismissed all of this as “only about sex” - instructing the rest of us to get a life and grow up. And for double-standards such as that Roger Ailes built Fox News.

Lord made no mention of the MRC's double standard on such matters, which insisted that it was "liberal bias" to even bring up the subject of Ailes' harassment and ludicrously pretended Ailes had nothing at all to do with Fox News' culture of sexual harassment.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:15 PM EDT
WND Still Won't Admit Seth Rich Story Is Fake News
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Last week, WorldNetDaily went all in on promoting discredited conspiracy theories about the 2016 death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. Now, it's in a bit of a cleanup made, though it still won't admit the story is bogus.

On May 16, WND reporter Alicia Powe touted how "private investigator" Rod Wheeler complained that the DNC allegedly contacted Washington, D.C. police regarding his investigation into Rich's death, which he portrayed as being related to the obtaining of DNC emails by WikiLeaks, suggesting that Rich himself made the emails available to WikiLeaks prior to his death.

Two days later, after Wheeler's claims were discredited -- he has no evidence Rich ever contacted WikiLeaks and that he has never seen Rich's computer, let alone any emails he might have sent, and he has never talked to the "federal investigator" he cited as evidence for his claims -- Powe decided to do a little narrative-massaging. This time around, Powe leads with Rich family representative Brad Bauman, whose name Powe misspells early on and whom she makes sure to identify as a "professional Democratic crisis public-relations consultant, denying Wheeler's claims.

Powe insisted that "Wheeler has emphasized in interviews with WND and Fox New [sic] that he is not a spokesman for the Rich family," despite the fact that at least one WND article specificially portrayed Wheeler as a family spokesman and Powe's own earlier article definitely hinted that Wheeler was working on the family's behalf while failing to explicitly state he is not a family spokesman.

Powe also failed in both articles to mention who actually is paying Wheeler: Texas money manager and regular Fox News guest Ed Butowsky.Powe also doesn't tell readers that the original story Wheeler (and, thus, WND) peddled has been discredited.

WND followed that up with a May 21 article by Liz Crokin -- a right-wing columnist who has pushed the Pizzagate fake-news conspiracy -- claiming to have talked to a manager (anonymous, of course) of a bar where Rich "was last spotted hours before he was shot and killed last summer" irrelevantly complaining that police never talked to any bar employee regarding Rich's death.

Crokin also claimed that Wheeler was "hired to independently investigate Rich's murder" while omitting the crucial information that the Rich family did not hire him.

Is it coincidence that WND fully embraced Seth Rich conspiracy theories as Donald Trump's presidency free-falls into turmoil? We don't put it past 'em.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:59 PM EDT
Saturday, May 20, 2017
MRC Heathering Watch, Nicolle Wallace Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has found another insufficiently right-wing Republican to do some Heathering on.

Geoffrey Dickens unloads in a May 9 MRC post:

After a lengthy career as an NBC/MSNBC analyst spent trashing conservatives and admiring Democrats, so-called Republican Nicolle Wallace is finally being rewarded with her own show. Wallace’s show Deadline: White House will debut on Tuesday, and she fits the bill of an “MSNBC Republican” to a T.

The former McCain-Palin campaign senior advisor didn’t even vote for the candidates she worked for. And she has displayed that kind of disloyalty as a TV talking head. In her stints as a co-host on ABC’s The View and NBC political analyst, the former George W. Bush White House communications director has attacked Republicans from the “despised” Ted Cruz and “moronic” James Inhofe to the “un-American” Donald Trump, but offered kind words for Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Going back to 2014, she gushed that she was a “huge fan” of the idea of a Hillary Clinton candidacy and dismissed the idea of her husband’s scandalous past hurting her because “to know Bill is to love Bill.” However, in 2015 she essentially called Sarah Palin “mentally ill.” And during the 2016 campaign she accused Trump’s supporters of having “sinister sentiments.”

Most recently, Wallace labeled Trump’s immigration polices as “un-American,” and was stumped by Trump voters who refused to take her bait to criticize the new president.

Dickens then provided a lengthy list of "examples, from the MRC’s archives, of Wallace’s most RINO-worthy performances."

We hope Dickens feels better after getting all that nastiness out of his system.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:23 PM EDT
WND Tries to Link Holy Land Tour to Trump
Topic: WorldNetDaily

To promote its latest Holy Land tour, WorldNetDaily has been dangling the possibility that tourgoers will get briefings from Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman. Now it's trying to add a little reflected glory, such as it is, from our president to lure people and their money.

The latest tour promo starts, under the headline "Trump's headed to Israel. Are you?":

President Trump plans to be in Israel May 23 to help the Jewish state celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem June 7 during the Six Day War of 1967.

Israel is looking forward to the arrival, with Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely saying: “Since Trump entered the White House, we feel that we have a true friend there. When he arrives, we will happily welcome him.”

Are you a true friend of Israel? Have you shown it by visiting?

Maybe it’s time, because this is a big year for the Jewish state.

Not only is Israel observing the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, it’s also the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration that set in motion the chain of events that led to revived statehood after nearly 1,900 years. It’s also the 70th year since the United Nations vote to re-create the nation.

The tour itself is not until November -- more than five months after Trump's visit.

The promo once again dangles briefings from Netanyahu and Friedman, but in ambiguous language that makes it unclear whether they have actually confirmed their appearances for the tour. The tour's website still lists them only as "invited speakers."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 AM EDT
Friday, May 19, 2017
MRC Serves Up Surprising (And, Of Course, Hypocritical) Praise of Lena Dunham
Topic: Media Research Center

Here's a shocker: The Media Research Center, which is normally eager to attack actress Lena Dunham -- it absolutely hated her TV show "Girls" --  suddenly has something nice to say about her.  Sarah Stites writes in a May 15 post:

Although Lena Dunham is no fan of Kellyanne Conway, she’s not here for digs at the presidential counselor’s appearance.

In a series of tweets posted Sunday morning, the liberal writer/producer expressed the view that commenting on women’s looks doesn’t advance the conversation.

“Insulting another woman’s appearance, even one you ideologically disdain, isn’t moving the needle forward,” she noted. “Seems crazy to have to explain…”

“…I’m no saint but I don’t, for example, get sassy about Kellyanne Conway’s looks,” Dunham continued. “It muddies the waters and prevents real discourse.”

“Or are we all just pretending to want real discourse?” she concluded.

It’s an important question to ask. And Dunham, a noted critic of body-shaming and appearance-based discrimination, should be commended for extending her defense to a conservative with whom she disagrees.

Needless to say, the MRC's sudden praise for Dunham is totally hypocritical, for it has mocked her looks. In a September NewsBusters post, Dylan Gwinn insulted her "boyishly boyish looks" -- "Much like Pat from Saturday Night Live" -- and effectively called her a slut as well:

Lena Dunham is in no way sexually appealing. When trying to ascertain whether or not a man is interested in a woman, it is imperative to use an attractive woman.

Yet, this is precisely the point. Dunham knows she’s not attractive, and her leftist sycophants know she’s not attractive. Which is why she continuously gets naked and throws herself at men.

Stites went on to note that Dunham's "tweets make the point that feminists can be quite hypocritical," complete with examples. But she offered up no examples of conservatives engaging in the same behavior -- like her former MRC co-blogger. And that's rather hypocritical as well.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:47 PM EDT
CNS Treats Us To The Political Thoughts of ... Fabio

A few months ago, we noted how loves to complain about nobody cares what celebrities have to say about political issues -- despite its record of touting celebrities who spout political views that align with CNS' right-wing agenda.

The absurd pinnacle of this is CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman devoting an entire May 8 blog post to the political musings of ... Fabio:

Commenting on California Gov. Jerry Brown's support for Proposition 57, which supposedly will safely reduce that state's "non-violent felons" prison population, actor and model Fabio Lanzoni (popularly known as Fabio) said, "California is a mess" and Gov. Brown (D) "took the side of the criminal," sold people "on lies," and "turned his back" on the police.


On Tucker Carlson Tonight, Fabio, who became a U.S. citizen in 2016, said, "California is a mess. You know, it's like coming from Europe -- I already saw this movie before. So, you know, instead to take the sides of the law enforcement, Governor Jerry Brown took the side of the criminal."

"And, you know, he's a champion of proposition 57," said Fabio. "He went on TV and talked about how he's going to release some, you know, non-violent criminals because California has no money. It costs about $100 million to keep these people in jail."

"So, the only problem, he lied to people," said the actor/model. "He sold people on lies, he told the people this criminal -- the guy got arrested for a bag of marijuana, no big deal. No, actually, you know, there is much more to the story."

Chapman offered no reason Fabio's opinions should be taken seriously, beyond his bashing of a politician conservatives like Chapman reflexively hate.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:10 PM EDT
A Church Becomes A Mosque, And WND's Hohmann Freaks Out
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Muslim-hater Leo Hohmann is aghast in a May 15 WorldNetDaily article:

A former church has been taken over and converted to a mosque in a rural North Carolina county, and a group of Christian pastors took part in the conversion ceremony in an effort to “show mutual respect” for their Muslim neighbors.

Hohmann's claim that the church was "taken over" by the mosque implies implies an involuntary and possibly forceful action; in fact, as Hohmann finally gets around to conceding in the 17th paragraph of his article, "The mosque purchased the former church building on four acres for $230,000."

Unusual for Hohmann, he actually interviewed the person he's attacking, in this case Rev. Jim Melnyk, an Episcopal minister who took part in the interfaith conversion ceremony. Apparently the interview involved no small amount of Hohmann lecturing Melnyk about the evils of Islam, as this article snippet suggests:

Melnyk said Christianity and Islam “share common origins and scriptures” and that he felt it was the right thing to do to participate in the mosque opening as a show of respect for Islam, a fellow monotheistic faith.

“Christians, Jews and Muslims are all people of the book, and we all claim what the Hebrew Scriptures call the Abrahamic faith,” Melnyk told WND. “We call it the Old Testament, and Muslims also claim the Bible.”

Islam teaches the Bible was corrupted by Jews and Christians and that the Quran was the final, perfected revelation of Allah as given by the Angel Gabriel to the prophet Muhammad. Melnyk said he is aware of these teachings.

Hohmann also called on a fellow Muslim-hater who ranted that Melnyk "should be severely reprimanded by his bishop, if not defrocked and excommunicated for deceiving his flock and denying Christ in such a blatant manner." Of course, Hohmann didn't give Melnyk a chance to respond to that personal attack.

Hohmann also did his own ranting in the midst of his freakout over the church-turned-mosque:

Turning over a former church to be made into a mosque is, historically and theologically, seen by Muslims as proof that their religion is superior to Christianity and, in fact, as part of their destiny as adherents of Islam, Furnish said.

The Middle East is full of churches and synagogues turned into Islamic sites, such as the Umayyad in Damascus, the Ibn Tulun in Cairo and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. In Hebron and on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Muslim conquerors built their sites atop the Jewish ones.

Likewise, in post-Christina [sic] Europe, hundreds of churches and synagogues have been converted to mosques in recent years. But the phenomenon is only just beginning in the U.S.

Remember, Hohmann is fearmongering about immigration of Muslims to the U.S. as "civilization jihad."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:27 AM EDT
Thursday, May 18, 2017
MRC Still Stands Athwart (Obama) History, Yelling 'Stop!'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center, it seems, can't stop raging that historic things that occured in the Obama years were called "historic" by the media.

The MRC's Mike Ciandella rants in a May 5 post (boldface in original):

If you heard anyone from the media praise the House of Representatives passing health care reform as a “milestone” or “historic,” you may be stuck in 2009. Instead, this year’s Republican health care bill was met with words like “big risk” and “extreme.”

"A critical milestone was reached overnight in the government's big overhaul of the nation's health care system,” Lester Holt announced on NBC Nightly News, November 8, 2009. “Today the president and many of his fellow Democrats are celebrating last night's passage of the House – by the House of a health care reform bill.

The next night, Nightly News correspondent Kelly O’Donnell echoed the same word, “For the House this was a major milestone. Democrats like to use the word "history" because it's been four decades since the last sweeping change to health care; that was Medicare. For Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it was a win with just two votes to spare.”

Over on ABC, Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts called ObamaCare a “historic health care overhaul” on November 9. As if reliving his stint as White House Communications Director, This Weekanchor George Stephanopoulos boosted “At 11:15 last night the gavel came down and with only two votes to spare the House had passed reform of health care. President Obama summed it up in three words, this is history.”

On cable news, Rick Sanchez on CNN Newsroom on November 9 reported that members of Congress were “there to vote on a historic health care”

CBS Morning News on November 6, CBS anchor Michelle Gielan said “Switching gears. In Washington, Democratic leaders predict passage of a historic health care reform bill.” Two days later on CBS Evening News, anchor Russ Mitchell reported “Tonight, after a last night`s historic but narrow approval in the House, health care reform moves to the Senate where it faces an uncertain future.”

All this just to avoid admitting that the Affordable Care Act was, in fact, historic (and to pretend that the current attempt to gut it somehow is)? Sheesh.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:19 PM EDT
WND Goes All In On Discredited Seth Rich Conspiracy Theories
Topic: WorldNetDaily

This little statistic tells you all about WorldNetDaily's news priorities: In the past day or two, WND published exactly one original article on the claims that President Trump shared classified information with the Russians and that Trump told ousted FBI director James Comey to end his investigation of onetime Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn. Bob Unruh desperately spun the former claim as a "report based on a leak from an unnamed source" and the latter as "purportedly based on a memo supposedly seen by two unidentified agents."

By contrast, WND cranked out six articles on developments regarding the 2016 death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.

First up was Chelsea Schilling asserting that Rich "was communicating with WikiLeaks before his death, according to the family’s private investigator," and had purportedly sent "44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments" to WikiLeaks.

Except that Rod Wheeler, the man Schilling described as "the family’s private investigator," well, isn't -- he was hired by and paid for by money manager and frequent Fox News guest Ed Butowsky, and the family has dissociated itself from Wheeler's claims. Schilling later edited her article to vaguely concede that Wheeler "was hired by a third party to investigate for the Rich family," but curiously did not identify his funder.

That was followed by a usual WND trope: an article by Garth Kant complaining that nobody else is covering the story, in this case "potentially explosive" allegations from private investigator Rod Wheeler that Rich purportedly "emailed 44,053 DNC emails to WikiLeaks" before his death in an apparent botched robbery attempt. That "could throw a wrench into the narrative that Russia hacked the Democratic Party’s emails during the 2016 presidential election in order to influence the presidential election," Kant breathlessly speculated.

Then came a similar complaint from Leo Hohmann that "The story that many conservative media considered a 'bombshell' Tuesday didn’t even register as a blip on the screens of CNN, ABC and CBS."

Bob Unruh then weighed in with an article claiming to recount the history of the case, adding that Rich's murder "took place the same month emails released by WikiLeaks on the eve of the Democratic National Convention revealed the Democratic National Committee was manipulating the party’s primary to ensure Hillary Clinton defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont for the party’s presidential nomination." He too falsely claimed that Wheeler was "hired by the Rich family."

Unruh followed that with a profile of Rich that also recounted the conspiratorial allegations.

Then WND fully goes there in an anonymously written article declaring that "Seth Rich’s death shares some eerie similarities with many mysterious deaths of individuals linked to former President Bill Clinton and twice failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton." That's right -- it's time for WND's umpteenth rehasing of the completely discredited Clinton Body Count (and a minor rewrite of an article WND first published shortly after Rich's death).

While WND was going all in on the Rich story, however, that story was falling apart. Wheeler lacks credibility as an investigator -- we flagged him in 2007 pushing the claim (which WND enthusiastically repeated) that there were "lesbian gangs" in Washington, D.C., who used guns painted pink. Wheeler had to walk back that claim, and he's walking back his claims about Rich as well.

Wheeler is also admitting that he has no evidence Rich ever contacted WikiLeaks and that he has never seen Rich's computer, let alone any emails he might have sent. Wheeler also admitted he never talked to the "federal investigator" he cited as evidence for his claims.

Needless to say, WND can't be bothered to do a story on that.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:20 PM EDT
Another Bogus MRC Coverage Study, This Time Bashing CNN For Covering The News
Topic: Media Research Center

Another day, another bogus Media Research Center study.

The MRC tried to portray CNN as "Completely Obsessed With Donald Trump -- And Not In A Good Way," and the result was a May 16 item complaining that, um, CNN was covering the news. Rich Noyes writes:

To get a handle on CNN’s news priorities during the Trump era, a team of MRC analysts reviewed all of the cable network’s programming on Friday, May 12, starting with the 4am ET Early Start and continuing through the 11pm ET CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, a total of 20 hours of material.

After excluding commercials, teases and promos, our analysts found 13 hours, 27 minutes of actual news coverage, an average of just over 40 minutes per hour. Of that, a whopping 92 percent (12 hours, 19 minutes) was devoted to the Trump presidency, with a mere 68 minutes — a little more than three minutes per hour — devoted to all of the other news of the day.

With the exception of about 21 minutes of live coverage of a White House briefing about the President’s upcoming trip to the Middle East and a smattering of coverage of Melissa McCarthy’s parody of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer in an upcoming SNL appearance, CNN used that time to endlessly analyze the President’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, then a three-day-old story.

Much of that airtime consisted of interviews and panel discussions giving their assessment of Trump. MRC tallied 123 appearances by guests or panelists over the course of the day. Many of CNN’s analysts showed up in multiple newscasts, each of which would count as a separate appearance. (There were 77 unique appearances by people identified as CNN analysts or commentators, or 62% of all guests).

The vast majority of all of CNN’s guests that day (96, or 78% of the total) were Trump critics, compared to a handful of pro-Trump guests (just seven, or 6% of the total). Another 13 guests were neutral, and seven offered mixed assessments of the administration.

Remember, the MRC thinks there should be no negative coverage of Trump whatsoever, so these results are a lilttle skewed. While Noyes did concede there were "neutral" commetators on CNN -- which somehow didn't make it into the accompanying chart, all the better to push the "anti-Trump" storyline -- he does not account for neutral commentators who said negative things about Trump. Heck, he doesn't even acknowledge that Trump's firing of Comey is something that many neutral people might be critical of.

As usual, Noyes refuses to provide the full details of his research, like how he determined that CNN had 96 Trump-haters on in a single day. And while Noyes whines that Trump's firing of Comey was "a three-day-old story" at the time of his study, he doesn't explain why it's a story that should not be discussed for a third day. A president firing his FBI director under suspicious circumstances is a newsworthy story, and were Trump a Democrat, the MRC would agree.

Like the MRC's other bogus studies, this isn't "research" at all -- it's a political document. If the MRC actually cared about conducting legitimate research, we would have seen a study sometime during the previous eight years titled "Fox News Is Completely Obsessed With Barack Obama -- And Not In A Good Way."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 AM EDT
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
WND Cheers Spicer's Stonewalling
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Remember when WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah pushed the myth on WND's 20th anniversary that his website is a "check and balance on government power," complaining about thet "cozy, symbiotic and unhealthy relationship developing between the corporate press and state power" and vowing that "WND would never fall prey or be seduced by that temptation"? That, of course, was stated just a few days after WND's Chelsea Schilling penned a gushy, sycophantic profile of White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

The sycophancy continues in a May 12 article, in which Garth Kant actually cheers Spicer's pathetic stonewalling on the issue of whether President Trump has "tapes" of his conversations with ousted FBI director James Comey, which the president himself suggested he did. Kant just loved how Spicer "would find a way to burst that bubble and deflate all those high expectations with just a few choice words:

The White House press briefing room was more packed than ever, with wall-to-wall reporters and camera operators.

Friday promised to be an explosive culmination of a combustible week that included the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

And there was a buzz of anticipation rippling through the air after President Trump had begun the day with a flurry of tweets that seemed to promise reporters the opportunity to pursue the prospect of a scandal of Nixonian proportions: secret tape recordings in the White House.

However, White House press secretary Sean Spicer would find a way to burst that bubble and deflate all those high expectations with just a few choice words.


With all this ammunition, the media was ready to pounce.

And they did, with the very first question of the briefing from Reuters’ Jeff Mason, who dutifully asked, “Did President Trump record his conversations with former FBI Director Comey?”

“The President has nothing further to add on that,” simply replied Spicer.

It was as though a lead balloon had dropped. The media suddenly realized there would be no feasting on that red meat of a tweet.

Mason gamely pressed on, asking: “Why did he say that? Why did he tweet that? What should we interpret from that?”

“As I mentioned,” calmly repeated Spicer, “the President has nothing further to add on that.”

“Are there recording devices in the Oval Office or in the residence?” the reporter persisted.

Which evoked the coup de grâce from the press secretary, “As I’ve said for the third time, there is nothing further to add on that.”

Undeterred, Mason made one last stab, asking, “Does he think it’s appropriate to threaten someone like Mr. Comey not to speak?”

To which Spicer responded, “I don’t think – that’s not a threat. He simply stated a fact. The tweet speaks for itself. I’m moving on.”

And that pretty much closed the book on that topic for the day, as it began to become clear the media had been effectively trolled by Trump.

The president hadn’t said Comey had been recorded. He had said Comey should hope he had not been recorded.

That, indeed, left a lot of unanswered questions. Questions the president obviously hoped Comey, and any potential leakers, should consider.

But not questions the White House would be answering.

We doubt that Kant and his boss, Farah, would be quite so praiseworthy of the White House press secretary if he had performed a similar feat of stonewalling for a Democratic president.

Your cozy, symbiotic and unhealthy relationship between a media outlet and state power in one story, folks.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:35 PM EDT

Newer | Latest | Older

Bookmark and Share

Get the WorldNetDaily Lies sticker!

Find more neat stuff at the ConWebWatch store!

Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!

Support This Site

« May 2017 »
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31

Bloggers' Rights at EFF
Support Bloggers' Rights!

News Media Blog Network

Add to Google